Austrian Social Democrats routed in Salzburg election

Austria's Christian Democratic party on Sunday ousted the Social Democrats from power in early regional elections in Salzburg state following a financial scandal involving the outgoing government.

According to first estimates, the Social Democrats' vote had crumbled to 24.1 percent compared with 39.4 percent in 2009, their worst-ever score in Salzburg.

While the conservative party won enough votes to form the new government, it also lost ground, garnering 30.5 percent against 36.5 last time.

The real winners were the Greens, who had broken the scandal over "speculative investments", and voters showed their appreciation by boosting the party's tally from 7.4 to 20 percent.

A new party set up by Austrian-Canadian multi-millionaire Frank Stronach entered the regional parliament though it did less well than expected with 7.8 percent of the vote.

The scandal that caused the early elections broke last December, with estimates of losses sustained by the regional government ranging from 93 to 380 million euros ($500 million).

The far right did relatively well, progressing from 13 to 16.3 percent.